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US places Nigeria on watch-list of countries that engage in religious persecution

In a statement released on Friday to announce the development, the United State did not state why Nigeria was added to the list.

It is believed that the inclusion of Nigeria on the list of countries that engage in religious persecution may be connected to the incessant clash between the Federal Government and members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo announced this in a statement on Friday, December 20, 2019.

However, the statement did not state why Nigeria was added to the list.

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The statement reads in part, “On December 18, 2019, the Department of State re-designated Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, [and] egregious violations of religious freedom.

“The Department renewed the placement of Comoros, Russia, and Uzbekistan on a Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom,” and added Cuba, Nicaragua, Nigeria, and Sudan to this list.

“Sudan was moved to the SWL due to significant steps taken by the civilian-led transitional government to address the previous regime’s “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

However, it is believed that the inclusion of Nigeria on the list may be connected to the continuous detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement if Nigeria, (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and the subsequent clashes between the Nigeria Police Force and IMN members.

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